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Covid care takes a hit

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on May 17, 2021 with No Comments

Covid-19 situation has become even more catastrophic in India. Public health system across the country has all but collapsed. All those items that can provide relief to the patients are in short supply where as they remain accessible in black market. Imagine, the government as well as private hospitals telling the patients to bring their own oxygen cylinders !  Vaccination coverage is woefully short of need, while all those above the age of 18 were gearing to get themselves vaccinated many states have deferred the plan announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as vaccination to handle such numbers is not available, and may not be available for months to come. It seems it was just another announcement that was not planned and was a knee jerk reaction. Modi Government has been caught napping as the major vaccine supplier has stated that no order was placed after March 2021. Thus exposing the preparedness of the government.

Earlier, Indians saw a willful patronage of super-spreader events  for gains that never materialized in the recent concluded elections in five states.  Now, with each passing day,  Governance failures are becoming  even more stark.  It’s willfully ignorance of scientific advice thus forcing the countrymen to pay horrific price for the Modi government’s neglect of the pandemic.  

A forum of scientific advisers set up by the Union government warned officials in early March of a new and more contagious variant of the Cornoavirus .  Four of the scientists said that despite the warning, the  Central government did not seek to impose major restrictions to stop the spread of the virus. Millions of largely unmasked people attended religious festivals and political rallies that were held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Opposition parties.

At the same time, tens of thousands of farmers  continued to camp on the edge of New Delhi protesting the Centre’s agricultural policy changes. No efforts were made to end the protest or to make the farmers realize the potential problem due to covid.

Shocked by the Modi government’s lethargy and inaction in handling the COVID-19 crisis, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), has demanded a ‘well-planned preannounced’ nationwide lockdown to curb COVID cases. Claiming that IMA’s requests and proactive cognizance were put into the dustbin by the government. Yet another case, where the government didn’t heed to a scientific advice. IMA even took the government to task  calling its decisions were taken without realizing  ground realities. IMA stated that the Centre has refused to implement a nationwide lockdown resulting in 4 lakh cases daily with moderate to severe cases increasing to 40%. 

The Modi Government has done little to offer same pricing for the vaccination by states and by centre. The differential pricing system with 50 % borne by Centre and remaining 50% by states & private hospitals in unhumanistic . This has forced the states and the private hospitals to negotiate with the manufacturers, something which would been done better by the centre being a bulk purchaser. Modi Government has allotted Rs 35,000 crore for vaccination but seems to be shedding its responsibility.  Here too, IMA has urged the government to implement universal free vaccination with equitable distribution.  The Central government is least concerned about costing of the dose. Assuming a price of Rs 175 dose, every individual could be vaccinated at a cost of Rs 350 per vaccine. In order to vaccinate a population of 120 crore, whole of Indians could be vaccines for Rs 42000 crore. An amount that the Central government can easily allocate. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s obsession with Rs 20,000 crore Central Vista continues. The project was awarded in  September 2000 and construction began in January 2021. And while, India is struggling due to the second wave of Covid-19, the project was provided a tag of “Essential Services” tag.

How many new hospitals were constructed since the pandemic broke? None. When it costs close to Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 crore to set up an AIIMS, could a few new super-specialty hospitals not have been built in the last 14+ months? While the sprawling Central Vista campus is expected to be ready in two years, there is no hospital on the agenda of the government.

 

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